Reflection day 11- Give thanks in all circumstances
‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.’ (Job 1:20)
There is a solemn story behind our reflection today, just as there is behind Job’s great statement above.
The hymn, ‘Now we thank we all our God’ was originally written in German. It has been sung on many great national occasions in Germany and, in its English translation, in Britain too. But the circumstances in which the hymn was written give the words additional poignancy and significance.
The hymn was composed by the Lutheran Pastor Martin Rinkart during the Thirty Years’ War which raged across Europe between 1618 and 1648. Rinkart was a minister in Eilenberg, a walled-town in Saxony. An influx of refugees caused severe overcrowding. In addition the town was repeatedly plundered by Austrian and Swedish armies. Plague and famine raged and there was much loss of life. Rinkart sometimes conducted fifty funerals a day and many thousands died. Rinkart buried his own wife and four of his fellow clergymen but refused to desert his parishioners. On one occasion, faced with an impossible demand for tribute from a commander in the Swedish army, Rinkart turned to his people and said, ‘Come, my children, we can find no mercy with man; let us take refuge in God.’ He then led them in prayer and in singing a hymn. The commander was much moved and his heart softened. Rinkart took many refugees into his own home and he actually composed the now-famous hymn to be sung before meals in his household.
How can a man praise God in such circumstances? Rinkart believed in the sovereignty of God over all things and that through faith in Jesus Christ sinful men and women could enjoy eternal life in that world to come where there will be ‘no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ (Revelation 21:4). It is evident that he also viewed life as a God-given privilege rather than a human right and was able to thank God for every blessing he and his family did enjoy. So let’s sing with him and learn from him at this concerning time in our nation.
Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom His world rejoices;
who, from our mothers’ arms,
has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever-joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in His grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next!
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
The Son and Him [the Holy Spirit] who reigns
with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Reflection day 12- Drawing near
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25)
The letter to the Hebrews is soaked in the thinking and ceremonies of Old Testament (OT) religion – a religion still being practised of course by many Jews at the time. In this passage there are references to sacrifice (‘the blood of Jesus’), the Most Holy Place (in the temple which was shielded by a thick curtain from the Holy Place – outside them lay a courtyard), the priesthood, ceremonial sprinklings (done with blood) and washings (done with water). The letter certainly underlines the value of familiarising ourselves with the OT. But even with a passing acquaintance with the OT we can understand quite a lot and appreciate the thrust of what the writer is saying. The author understands all these ceremonies have been fulfilled in Christ. He is the object, the substance, they were just a shadow. They gave a preview, a glimpse into what was to come. So what exactly is he saying here?
- i) We can draw near to God (v22). Once a year on the Day of Atonement the Jewish High Priest offered special sacrifices and for a few minutes entered behind the curtain into the Most Holy Place, God’s throne room, where heaven touched earth and a man could meet with God. Here he sprinkled the ark of the covenant (the golden box that contained the Ten Commandments), to make atonement for the law-breaking of the nation. Then, no doubt still trembling with fear, he left for another year. Christians, however, through their great high priest Jesus Christ, who offered his own perfect life as a sacrifice, can, wherever they are, enter God’s very presence with full assurance, completely forgiven, cleansed thoroughly of all their sins. We are reminded of the privilege of private prayer and corporate worship here. To this holy but gracious God we are urged to draw near today. We may feel unworthy and acutely conscious of our sins. Well, we need to remember exactly what Jesus has done and with humble confidence draw near to God.
- ii) We have a great hope (v23), the new heavens and the new earth, paradise restored, a world bathed in the glorious light of God and the Lamb. Many people around us are fearful. What a difference it makes to our perspective on life – and death – that we know the best is yet to come.
iii) In the meantime we are to think about how we can spur one another on to love and good deeds and we are not to neglect meeting together (vs24-25). That’s a reminder that our current arrangements are not to become the new normal. We should eagerly look forward to meeting together again as I know many of you do. In the interim we are to use all the means at our disposal to have person to person fellowship. May we enjoy that today and see how we can encourage one another.
Our service today can be accessed again on YouTube https://youtu.be/1yIcX03CaIs
Reflection day 13- Secure in the Father’s hand
From Paul Barton, one of our church workers
Jesus said, 27 ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.’ (John 10: 27-29)
As a father of five boys I have had my fair share of holding a tight grip onto the hand of a toddling son. As we have walked along paths the terrain can be variable, from smooth to stony. Each of our boys have toddled off and fallen over. But when I have taken a tight grip of their hand, though the terrain or clumsy feet resulted in a fall, the strong arm and held hand doesn’t result in them falling to the ground. Not even gravity can snatch them out of their Father’s hand.
In the Christian life we can develop the wrong view of our salvation. We can think thoughts of self-reliance in regard to our salvation and our walk with God. We think this way because the effect of sin warps our thoughts and view of God. Jesus teaches us the reality of our situation in v28 – ‘no one will snatch them out of my hand.’ He even repeats it again if you didn’t get it the first-time round – ‘no one will snatch them out of my hand.’
Today, if you are shaken by the world’s situation of Covid-19, or you are rocked by physical, emotional or spiritual storms we must go back to this truth. Our minds need to hear this truth. What we know about God must rule our minds and hearts rather than how we are feeling. Jesus said, ‘no one will snatch them out of my hand.’ We should be extremely thankful that our grip is not omnipotent, but the hands of the Father are. They are holding the whole world (Psalm 95:4). The grip He has on us as His children means that nothing in heaven or on earth can lever open His fingers.
We are secure in the Father’s hand. This security makes the privileges that Christ speaks about in v28 more wonderful – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish… Our place in heaven and salvation is secure. Our Saviour is mightier than the enemy. Praise the Lord.
Reflection day 14- Money (I)
Social distancing and self-isolating in order to reduce the spread of the Corona Virus has brought many industries and businesses to a standstill. World stock markets have tumbled (that is the estimated value of the companies whose shares are traded on them). These days this affects not just the fortunes of the wealthy but the savings, investments and pensions of millions and millions of ordinary people. The British Government has intervened in an unprecedented way to support the employed and self-employed but many will still be worried about their livelihoods. Will the businesses they work for survive? Will they be able to pay the bills? Are we entering not just a recession but an economic depression? And that Government money has of course to come from somewhere.
In Matthew 6 in his Sermon on the Mount Jesus turns to the subject of wealth and provisions and warns his disciples against idolatry and anxiety. Instead he urges them to store up treasures in heaven and trust their loving heavenly Father to supply their needs. Today then idolatry, tomorrow, God willing, anxiety.
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy [or generous], your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy [or stingy], your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Jesus speaks of two treasures, two visions, two masters:
- i) First Jesus urges us to store up treasures in heaven which are absolutely secure. We are to look forward to being with Christ, to being too with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to that perfect world, free from sin and suffering, full of love and joy. We are to be investing our time, energy, and yes, our money, in that world now. Those treasures are secure whereas the treasures of earth are exposed to the dangers of decay, robbery, disease and stock market crashes. And of course we deteriorate, we ultimately all die. ‘You can’t take it with you when you go.’ So although we can and should make sensible provision for the future we are fools to be hoarders.
- ii) If you have healthy vision, your eyes illuminate and guide your whole body. Your feet know where to go, your hands know what to reach. But on the other hand if your eyes are clouded or you’re completely blind, every part of your body is impacted. You stumble about, you grope around.
Jesus is saying the way we look at life and in particular possessions affects everything. If we are covetous and stingy, however much we may possess, we are actually blind and living in darkness. If on the other hand we are content and generous our lives are bathed in light.
iii) We cannot serve two masters. We cannot have a foot in both camps. Some thing or someone must have our supreme allegiance. What we think about, dream about, lie awake worrying about, reveals our true loyalty. We cannot serve God and money.
What’s happened recently should remind us all that money is no security but Jesus is (see chapter 7:24-27). I love the words of the hymn we sung (or at least heard sung) on Sunday, ‘My worth is not in what I own’:
I rejoice in my Redeemer
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.
Or there’s that old hymn:
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.
Reflection day 15- Money (II)
25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ (Matthew 6:25-34)
If in Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus addresses the subject of idolatry (specifically the worship of money), in vs 25-34 he turns to that of anxiety, anxiety about basic provisions like food, drink and clothing. Many people in Jesus’ day barely lived above subsistence level and worried about these things. Right now, in the midst of the Corona Virus epidemic, many people in our society are also worrying – about money and even basic supplies. They are worrying about their jobs, worrying about paying the rent or the mortgage, the council tax and the mobile phone bill. Food banks have been extensively accessed for some time in the UK including Chesham but recently even the wealthy have been stock-piling for fear of a prolonged lockdown. All this, by the way, has a knock-on effect on Christian charities which are anticipating (or experiencing) a significant drop in income – although other factors are at work too.
But Jesus, who remember by this time lived as a kind of itinerant preacher dependent upon the donations of others, tells his disciples not to worry. Why not?
- i) We are to recognise that life is more than food and the body more than clothes (v25). To be forgiven, right with God, loved by God, indwelt by God’s Spirit, to be God’s child, a member of his family and an heir of heaven are immense and everlasting blessings.
- ii) What’s the point of worrying? (v27). The Greek word for ‘worry’ here suggests the kind of anxiety that causes ongoing tension and exhaustion. Well, does it help? Can you add a year or even an hour to your life by worrying? Isn’t it a neurotic drain of energy that is more likely to keep us from thinking clearly and acting sensibly?
iii) Each day has enough trouble of its own (v34). Our imagination can run away with itself and thinking about worst case scenarios get out of control. Worry over tomorrow’s troubles is senseless, because today has enough to occupy our attention and because tomorrow’s troubles may never actually occur.
- iv) Above all we need to remember we have a loving heavenly Father. Again and again in this sermon Jesus speaks of ‘your Father in heaven’ (5:16,45,48; 6:1,4,6,8,9,15,18; 7:11 and in our passage). He feeds the birds and clothes the wild flowers of the field. We are far more precious than them. He loves us deeply, knows what we need and we can trust him to provide. We are not to be like the agitated pagans but calmly to rely on God to supply all our needs.
So Jesus says, ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ The Lord’s Prayer (6:9-13) is instructive: we pray ‘your kingdom come, your will be done’ before we turn to our own needs and ask, as we can and should, ‘Give us today our daily bread.’
Reflection day 16- Faith and Doubt
From Clive Gullett, one of our church elders
When in Kenya a few weeks ago Kepha Sekwa very kindly gave me a gift of an African Study Bible. Initially I read some introductory information and wondered where it would fit in with other stuff to read; after all, I have several other Bibles and even a study Bible.
I decided to stack it on the shelf the next day to tidy up, but at breakfast felt I ought to try and give it some airing. Having an hour before, with the help of Mathew Henry, (who I have just recently returned to after a long break) considered Luke 1 and particularly Zechariah and Elizabeth where Zechariah did not immediately believe what Gabriel had told him and tried to work it out himself, compared with Elizabeth who totally ran with it.
So between a munch on Weetabix I looked to see what the African view was in their study Bible and found it a blessing, so hoping it is helpful to you too, read the passage and here comes a short thought:
Very few people are described as “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commands and regulations” (Luke 1:6) Zechariah and his wife had such an honour. Yet when the angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his prayer for a child had been answered, the priest (Zechariah) immediately gave logical reasons for why it was impossible.
In contrast, his wife Elizabeth immediately believed that the Lord was able to answer their prayer even though she was “unable to conceive “and “very old” (Luke 1: 7). By human standards, Elizabeth had reason to doubt God. But her response was, “How kind the Lord is… He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Zechariah typifies many of us. We may fast and certainly pray, believing in God’s ability to answer our prayers. At the same time, we harbour doubt that God can really answer us. We have both trust and doubt. Our faith should be like that of Elizabeth’s, who believed God was capable of overcoming obstacles, even her biological clock.
Let us not limit God’s ability to answer prayer. Rather let us drive out doubt and wholly trust God.
Reflection day 17- Out of the depths
From David Mortimer, one of our church elders
17 Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said:
In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled around me: all your waves and breakers swept over me.
4 I said ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again towards your holy temple’.
5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in for ever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit.
7 When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say ‘Salvation comes from the LORD’.
(Jonah 1 v. 17 – 2 v. 9)
How long have we been in lockdown now? Still only a matter of days – perhaps many more to come. Some can go out for essentials, some to work, particularly in the emergency services (thankyou), while others have not ventured from their home for weeks. Concerned family members are forbidding their parents or grandparents from going out until the ‘all-clear’ has sounded. Are you going ‘stir-crazy’, enclosed in your own home for most or all of the time? These are difficult times – how do we cope?
The prophet Jonah found himself in a perilous situation with time to think. He had been disobedient to God, running away from his responsibilities, and he suffered the consequences. In order to still the violent storm that was threatening the lives of all on the ship with him, he offered himself up to be thrown into the sea, with, in his mind, the certain consequence of death.
But Jonah had not factored Almighty God into the occasion – He provided a huge fish – just then, at that exact spot – to come along and swallow him whole.
But wasn’t this just ‘frying-pan into fire’, Jonah may have thought to himself. Just visualise him there, inside the huge fish’s belly – dark, slimy, reeking of food consumed and about to be digested – surely anyone’s worst nightmare?
So how did Jonah react? Look at verse 1 above – he prayed. In the deepest, darkest place, Jonah cried out to God – and what a prayer! He acknowledges his sin, the depth of his suffering, and goes to the only One who can hear his cry and save him – and He does! Jonah repents of his wrongdoing, makes a vow to the Lord, and ends with that great word of praise: ‘Salvation comes from the Lord’.
Doesn’t this prayer speak to us in our days of self-isolation and lockdown? What the Lord did for Jonah He can do for you. Look to Him in repentance and faith; call to Him in your distress and He will listen to your cry.
Reflection day 18- Lockdown and love
Tomorrow will mark three weeks since we last met physically together as a congregation (the happy occasion of Ruth’s baptism); so that will be three weeks since we last sung together and drank coffee together, and five weeks since we last celebrated the Lord’s Supper together. We are experiencing ‘lockdown’ even if some of us are grateful we can still go out shopping and for a walk in the countryside. Some are thankful they are living in a family right now. Others find living with others in lockdown is significantly increasing pre-existing tensions. Of those who live alone some are happy with their own company but others feel lonely and depressed. We are thankful for the telephone, the internet, Facetime, Zoom and Skype but most are not finding this easy. And most also expect this to last for at least a couple more months. Schools don’t expect to return to normal until September. The longer this goes on the harder it will become. We therefore need good reasons to comply with the Government’s directives here.
- The first reason we have is what the Bible teaches about obedience to the governing authorities. This is the subject of my message tomorrow from Romans 13:1-7. So long as we believe the Government is forbidding us from gathering together in the interests of the physical health of the nation (rather than because of some repressive, hidden agenda) we should obey them. The Governing authorities are ‘God’s servants’. Rebelling against them is rebelling against what God has instituted.
- The second reason is love towards our neighbour. The American Baptist minister Al Mohler has pointed out the ‘haunting similarities’ between Government directives about social distancing and laws about the treatment of those with defiling skin diseases in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. These laws banished those with leprosy and other skin diseases from the Israelite community (13:46). Harsh though the laws seem, their purpose was to prevent the spread of something defiling. (For the record though ‘quarantined’ they could be restored if the condition cleared up.) I suspect the reasons for these OT laws were more religious than medical but there is still the idea of preventing the spread of something which is ‘contagious’.
It is in the same book of Leviticus that we have the famous command, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (19:18) When asked what the most important commandment was Jesus answered,
‘The most important one is this: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’ (Mark 12:29-31 – the first OT quotation is from Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
If we believe the forecasts of the statisticians advising the Government are, to the best of our knowledge, reliable, social distancing and lockdown are an expression of love towards our neighbours as well as love towards ourselves. We want to prevent the spread of a dangerous disease. And, of course, obedience to God’s commands is an expression of love towards God himself.
So these are two solid reasons to keep observing the Government’s directives.
Finally I would like to remind you again today of the sovereignty of God over all things. We pray that in his mercy God might awaken others to seek his face at this time. (I heard of a Muslim living in an Arab state joining the Zoom meeting of a UK church this week.) And then we are told, ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ (Luke 5:16). In a room of our home (Matthew 6:6) or a quiet place we can walk to, we have an opportunity to seek God, to pray to him for others and enjoy communion with him ourselves through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Reflection day 19- Palm Sunday
When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ (Mark 11:7-10)
We try to visualize the scene: Jesus, having made the steep ascent by foot from Jericho, rides, seated on a donkey, over the summit of the road and the city of Jerusalem appears before him; the crowd make a ‘red’ carpet for him with their cloaks and with palm branches they pull from the trees; Jesus’ many disciples begin to praise God for all the miracles they had seen him do – ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Luke 19:38); there is excitement, joy, expectation. And there is something in us as Christians that says, ‘Yes, this is how it should be!’ We think perhaps of psalms of praise in the Old Testament or of the worshippers in heaven that we read of in the book of Revelation.
And yet, considered carefully, we must surely recognise that there was something shallow and inadequate about the crowd’s thinking and behaviour. Within a week the people of Jerusalem would turn against Jesus. They asked Pontius Plate to release Barabbas (a Jewish resistance leader who had taken part in an uprising) in preference to Jesus, ‘the King of the Jews,’ who now seemed weak and ineffectual.
The fact was, as Jesus knew full well, something deeper was required at every level. There could be no cure for human sin and rebellion other than through his suffering and agony on the cross. An atoning sacrifice was needed. The holy justice of God had to be satisfied. Death itself had to be defeated. God’s Spirit had to be poured out into human hearts.
And in the hearts of some of these same people God would do that deeper work. ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ (to be saved) they would ask with urgency on the Day of Pentecost. And Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 2:38)
Read on in Acts and you will see that the early Christians were full of joy and constantly praising God. But true, heartfelt praise arises out of a deep sense of our own sinfulness and a corresponding gratitude to God and to his Son Jesus Christ for all he has done for us.
May he find that in our hearts today.
Our service this Sunday can be found at
Reflection day 20- The tenderness & compassion of Jesus
From Paul Barton, one of our church workers
Luke 19:41 – As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
When was the last time you cried? Was it tears of joy or sadness? Who was with you – family, friends or were you on your own? Jesus wept when He saw Jerusalem because He had a tender heart to sinners.
I am told that the road from Bethany to Jerusalem finally crosses the ridge and dips down the western slope of the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem is spread out before them – a beautiful site to these eager pilgrims. And yet the sight evokes not awe in Jesus but grief.
The omniscient King of Kings and Lord and Lords knew the character of all who lived in Jerusalem. He knew all about their sins. Their cruelty, their self-righteousness, their stubbornness, their persistent prejudice against the truth, and their proud hearts were not concealed from Him.
The route Jesus took was one that would lead Him to His death and He knew what they were going to do to Him in the coming days. He knew of His betrayal, arrest, false trial, the beating He would receive and then crucifixion. Yet this did not deter His tears for Jerusalem and all in it.
Jesus Christ cares for all. J C Ryle says, ‘His heart is wide enough to take an interest in all mankind.’ His compassionate and tender heart goes out to all people – men and women, boys and girls. No one is off limits to His general love. We know that as a child of God He has a special love for us. In Jerusalem there were His sheep and those who refused to believe in Him. Christ’s heart is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9c). Christ was ready and willing to save but some didn’t want to be saved. No one can accuse Christ of not having a tender and compassionate heart.
As Christ’s disciples we should have the same heart attitude to the unconverted as our Saviour. Our hearts should be stirred up at this time to proclaim the gospel of Christ and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The apostle Paul gives us a challenging example of how our hearts should respond when we see the unconverted – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9:2). David gives us a glimpse into his heart when he wrote – Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed (Psalm 119:136). Our Saviour had a tender and compassionate heart to the wicked people in Jerusalem, cannot we also?
We must also have a thankful heart because Jesus took this path to the cross knowing what sins we would commit. This knowledge did not deter Him. Praise God for His love, mercy and grace toward us.
We can praise our God with these words from ‘How deep the Father’s love for us’…
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished